Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Books that motivate "backwards"


Terry here:

We were asked about a book we did not enjoy, but motivated us in our own writing.


I can’t think of a specific book, but I do know I’ve started reading too many books that I discarded after  10, 20, 30, or even 50 pages, not because the subject didn’t interest me, the plot wasn’t moving forward, or the writing was mediocre….none of those things. The single biggest reason was that the characters didn’t grab me. I just put one aside that had two alternating characters, and was a well-regarded book when it came out a few years ago. But about halfway through the book, I realized that I was reluctant to pick it up. Why? Because the character who was “on stage” in that part of the book simply didn’t move me. I didn’t care what her motivations were for her choices, I was not interested In her (supposedly) naughty past, nor did I care what happened to her. DNF.

As a contrast, I recently read The Witch Elm. I didn’t much care for it. I thought the plot veered too far into the unbelievable and some of the characters didn’t ring true. But I read the whole thing? Why? Because the main character was fascinating. He was unlikeable and  self-centered, but he was a complete human being, with struggles and triumphs, and the occasional moment of realizing that he was missing something in his relationships with other people.. He was worth reading about. However, I don’t think it motivated me for my own writing. Maybe I’ll find out at some point that it will, but not now.

More often, what motivates me to write with renewed vigor and well-written books that I really enjoyed. I don’t know how I missed reading Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowlings) for so long. I’ve had The Cuckoo’s Calling ever since it came out. I recently read it, and every time I spent an hour reading, I would think about some particular passage that grabbed me and think, “How did she do that?” I read the first paragraph several times as a perfect example of drawing in the reader, and it made me go back and peel away a few words in the beginning of my WIP.

There are writers that I know intellectually are great, but that simply don’t grab. me. I read widely and deeply. I read many subgenres in the crime fiction genre. I can enjoy a well-written cozy as well as a well-written thriller.  Yet there are popular writers I simply cannot get in tune with, no matter how many people rave about their writing. I think it’s a matter of the rhythm of their prose, more than the content. I have to honestly say I don’t think I learn anything from them.




8 comments:

SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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SIMONA PREMOLI EX MARINA-BERLUSCONI-S LESBIAN-LOVER said...
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Susan C Shea said...

Just for the record, Terry wasn't removing comments that challenged her, but a raft of long, identical posts that had nothing to do with her observations!